First base has seemingly taken a backseat in recent years to other fantasy baseball positions. Sure, there are still plenty of high-upside sluggers, but with batting averages and stolen base attempts dropping, the position is less multi-dimensional than it used to be. Still, even a quick glance at our 2020 1B rankings reminds us how deep the position is, especially if you don’t mind sacrificing a little average. Whether it’s a high-round stud or a late-round sleeper, there are plenty of first base options to circle on your draft cheat sheet.
Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso make up our top four, and even though Bellinger stands above the rest after an MVP campaign that included a .303 average and 15 SBs last year, there isn’t a huge difference between them. We’re betting on a slight power regression from Alonso and a bounce-back in average for Goldschmidt, whose .303 BABIP last year was 45 points below his career average. That drop can’t entirely be chalked up to leaving Arizona either, as Goldschmidt actually hit better on the road while he was a Diamondback. We’re higher on Goldschmidt that most other sites, so, while you can probably wait to draft him until the fourth or fifth round, Freeman and Alonso will be gone by the second or third.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:
Catcher | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300
Matt Olson is a candidate to lead the position in HRs this year, which is why he’s fifth in our rankings. Jose Abreu, Anthony Rizzo, and Josh Bell profile as 30-plus-HR hitters who can post solid averages, and while they’re not the only guys who can do that (Trey Mancini, Carlos Santana, Yuli Gurriel), they’re either the most proven, or in Bell’s case, someone who seems to be only getting better.
If you’re just looking for power, Max Muncy, Miguel Sano, Rhys Hoskins, Edwin Encarnacion, Renato Nunez, Christian Walker, and maybe even Luke Voit can all hit 30-plus HRs and drive in runs, but several could be drafted at other positions and most will hurt your batting average. Injuries and playing time are also concerns for a few of them.
If you want to be one of the few owners to get 15-plus SBs from your 1B, you can target Danny Santana (who’s eligible in Yahoo leagues at every position except catcher) or Wil Myers, but you better have sluggers/RBI producers at other positions to pick up the slack.
If you really want to wait at 1B (or if you’re in a league with a CI spot), you can still find 30-HR power late in the draft in the form of Mark Canha, Joc Pederson, Hunter Dozier, or Dan Vogelbach. Jesus Aguilar could bounce back after last year’s disastrous campaign, or Yandy Diaz could break out. Even guys like Eric Thames and Rowdy Tellez will hit HRs, if nothing else.
It’s easy to get lulled into thinking almost all 1Bs are the same, at least after the top four or five, but there are differences that are important to note when building your team. Someone like Santana figures to score more runs than, say, Encarnacion, but the latter figures to have a few more RBIs. Gurriel will have a better average than Sano, but if you need HRs more, Sano would probably be your choice. Either way, there are plenty of options at this position — and plenty more will emerge throughout the season.
It’s important to note that the players below are ranked as if they’re only eligible at 1B. Certain players might be ranked higher overall because of eligibility at other positions.
We’ll be updating our 1B rankings throughout the spring, so check back for the latest player movement.
Fantasy Baseball 1B Rankings
Rankings based on 5×5 H2H leagues with Rs, HRs, RBIs, SBs, and batting average as categories
Position eligibility based on Yahoo default settings (5 games started or 10 games played at a position)
* = not eligible to play at that position on draft day but expected to play there during the season
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